Emma Cairns arrived in Emmerdale in February 1997 with her family as the youngest child and daughter of Tony and Becky Cairns, heavily pregnant. She gave birth to her daughter Geri a month later. Her father Tony wanted her to have Geri adopted, to which Emma went along with. However, she reversed her decision when she grew close to her baby daughter. The father was later revealed to be Greg Cox, the ex-boyfriend of her sister Charlie. This led to Charlie leaving Emmerdale, a mere few months after arriving. Her parents left for Germany in April 1998, with Emma joining them in the autumn.